The Orion Report: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

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The Orion Report: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Post by Cross187 on Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:27 pm

Hey everyone! Cross here! Well, this is hard to believe, huh? I'm posting something outside of the Roleplay Section, which has been inactive for quite some time. On that matter, we've kinda just gone back to our own lives, I guess. Meh Neutral To be honest, I kinda miss it all...

Anyway, let me stop rambling on about the other mess, and get to the point of this topic. Today, on October 11, the long-anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 finally hit online stores for Wiiware. And I got a copy of it! Yayz! SQUEE! ...Also, the game will be released for Playstation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade tomorrow and the next day respectively.

Okay, so after my fangasm ended, I finally sat down and played the game. And I gotta say, I'm impressed. Compared to recent console titles, this game is definitely a step in the right direction. Like everyone knows by now, this game harks back to the classic Sega Mega Drive/Genesis titles, often considered the greatest of Sonic's career, with the pocket titles (Sonic Advance and Rush series) coming a close second... in my opinion, anyway.

Obviously, you play the game as the flagship character of the series, Sonic the Hedgehog, running through several stages to stop the evil Dr. Eggman. Along with Sonic's signature super-speed, you utilize his trademark Spin Dash to blast through enemies and other obstacles. The game controls are as simple as it gets, using the directional buttons to move, and a single command button for Spin Dash-based actions. Also, Sonic gains his Homing Attack from the Adventure series for even more utility.

The story is simple, like the classic games: Directly after Eggman's defeat in Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic goes off on his own to explore new lands. Meanwhile, Eggman begins to rebound, this time looking to take out Sonic himself. He revisits and updates his old creations to defeat our spiked hero once and for all. So far, and according to official report, the game only features these two characters. There aren't even any cameo appearances by Tails or Knuckles. In this aspect, this game is the first since the original Sonic that has bona-fide solo Sonic action.

At the point of this, I have completed the first Zone, Splash Hill, which is green and vibrant, a recurring theme for the first zone in many Sonic titles. From what I've seen, there are a total of four Zones, each divided into three Acts plus a battle with Eggman after the third. Also, there are seven Special Stages, which are throwbacks to the Sonic 1 Special Stages, where you can recover the Chaos Emeralds, bringing the total stages to at least 19 (excluding Boss Stages), though I'm expecting a Final Zone of sorts after the regulation stages are complete. After completing a stage, you can choose to go right to the next, or otherwise be taken to a stage select screen. From the looks of things, any Act in any Zone can be played at any time, but all three Acts in a Zone must be completed to face the Boss.

Presentation-wise, the game is very pretty, being plenty colorful and running pretty smooth. The frame rate isn't as smooth as other titles, but I haven't experienced any hiccups or slowdowns in it, so this isn't an issue. It almost looks as though it's meant to be played in HD. The music has an old-school feel to it, with a bit of a modern twist. What I first noticed about the music above all else is that the drum set used is the same as the classics. It's all simple but catchy loops which last about 35 seconds. Like the tracks of old, several of these might get stuck in your head. I, personally, have Splash Hill Zone Act 3 stuck in my head already.

Now onto the gameplay: Even with the inclusion of the Homing Attack, the game's mechanics aren't changed that much. The stages are filled with plenty of shuttle loops, spike traps, bottomless pits, and other gimmicks to surprise you. Speaking of bottomless pits, watch out for Casino Street Zone; Acts 2 and 3 can really catch you, if you're not careful! By the way, it should also be noted that they seem to have no voicework in this game, so no wise cracks from Sonic or laughter from Eggman. To new-generation Sonic fans, who've known Sonic to always have a voice, this may be a bit annoying, but to classic fans like me, we're cool. Hell, we're probably a little better off!

But when it's all said and done, I just didn't get the same sense of speed as with the classic games. Remember in those games when Sonic started going so fast, he'd start to slide offscreen? In this game, the camera seems to be able to keep pace with our hero, thus reducing the sense of speed... For me, anyway. Also, there are other little quirks that could catch you off guard. For example, when Spin Dashing off a quarter pipe, you come out of Spin Dash form, making you vulnerable in midair, so watch out! I don't want to ruin everything for you guys, but I will say one other thing: Be ready for the Special Stage. It may look like Sonic 1, but it plays pretty differently.

Overall, I'm greatly satisfied with this game. Even though it's a throwback to the classic games, it's by no means just like them. There are plenty of moderns twists to keep you on your toes. If you're a fan of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog, this game is definitely for you! Now all that's left for me is to finish this game, and prepare for Episode 2 to hit online stores!

Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
Concept: Bring back the classic Sonic gameplay fans have been craving for a long time
Graphics: Old-school vibrant colors and scenery, with modern quality
Sound: Many of the games catchy tunes may get stuck in your head
Playability: Besides the new Homing Attack, the game plays much like its Mega Drive/Genesis predecessors, though Sonic's speed leaves a little to be desired
Entertainment: Plenty of paths to take in each stage, plus a Time Attack mode with online Leaderboards. Besides, it just feels good to run through shuttle loops, just like old times
Replay Value: High

FINAL VERDICT: 9.5/10
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Cross187

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Re: The Orion Report: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Post by The Administrator on Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:21 pm

Da. I approve of this. CROSS IS CREDIT TO TEAM!
Also, it's times like these I'm pissed I never got to repair my Wii... *sniff*
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